Q: You both provide most of the excellent photography of RT projects we see on Facebook and other RT media. Why did you first get involved with Rebuilding Together?
A: I have been an amateurevent photographer for several years with my employer. A few years ago, my company sponsored a Rebuilding Together Charlotte project in which my wife, Laura, also participated. We showed up ready to swing a hammer and take pictures; however, quickly found ourselves absorbed in documenting the event in pictures. It was pure luck that after sharing our photos with Amy Gough, the director of Rebuilding Together Charlotte, we were asked if we would be interested in volunteering again. Laura and I have continued as amateur photographers for Rebuilding Together ever since that first project in early 2012.
Q: What has it meant to each of you to volunteer with RT Charlotte?
A: We both agree that it has been a great opportunity getting involved with an organization that so closely aligns to a cause that is meaningful to us. It is humbling to volunteer with a company that so selflessly reaches out to provide crucial home repairs and refurbishments that are so vital to the quality of life, health and safety of the elderly, disabled, or low-income homeowner. For us, volunteering with Rebuilding Together Charlotte is about being a part of the whole experience. We are the observer, the bystander who is coincidentally there at that very moment to capture in pictures the story of people coming together to work side-by-side in order to help someone else in need. Being photographers for Rebuilding Together Charlotte has allowed us to experience humanity at its best. Volunteering has changed our lives and given us a chance to see the impact one single person can have on another person’s life by helping to improve another person’s living condition. At its core, Rebuilding Together is simply about people helping people. It is an individual multiplied by friends, family, co-workers, and strangers that when joined together creates a community which results in a powerful force often unexplainable in any other way than in the faces of the volunteers often captured in our pictures. Laura and I feel honored to be a part of such an incredible organization and we hope to continue volunteering with Rebuilding Together Charlotte as amateur photographers for many more years to come.
Q: What has been the most interesting, fun or unexpected benefit to your volunteering
A: The most interesting and most unexpected benefit to volunteering with Rebuilding Together Charlotte, for us, has been working within the extraordinary outpouring of compassion from the volunteers. As photographers, Rebuilding Together is not only about the homeowners; the volunteers are the other half of the story. We have discovered that there are just as many reasons why people chose to take action and volunteer with Rebuilding Together as there are volunteers. However, what has become evident during our time with this organization is that Rebuilding Together brings people closer to one another, it renews community pride and encourages revitalization of neighborhoods, it spreads happiness, builds confidence and self-esteem, and gets things done that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred.
Q: Does any one project resonate with you as a volunteer and why?
A: Mark – The Craftsman HouseUnited Project has been my favorite so far. It was a great opportunity to bring the community together in order to build a home for a returning Military Veteran. Secondly, it was an opportunity to watch Ty Pennington at work. What seemed most important to him was the cause, not the spotlight. Ty Pennington worked side-by-side with every volunteer out there. Not only was he there to represent Craftsman, but he was there to truly do hard work.
A: Laura – The Maxwell House Drops of Good Community Project has been her favorite so far. This project focused on bringing the community together to provide a safe and clean day center for the homeless at the Urban Ministry Center. Additionally, the volunteers cleaned up and refurbished a large vegetable garden and build, painted and cleaned up several personal space areas outside. The improvements to the day center were immense and it was clear how our improvement directly impacted the lives of the homeless in Charlotte.
Q: Why should others volunteer with Rebuilding Together?
A: Rebuilding Together is an amazing organization. There are no strings attached and nothing is ever asked of the volunteers other than to have a good time while safely donating their time and energy. This is hands-on hard work and physical labor, yet there are a wide variety of roles throughout each project that offers contributing work for every physical ability. Each repair crew (20+ individuals) of volunteers is matched, according to skill level, with the degree of difficulty of the home to be repaired. We urge anyone who is looking for a way to do something concrete and tangible, directly benefiting both the individual and the community to volunteer with Rebuilding Together Charlotte. Not only will you see and feel the significant difference your work makes in someone’s life, but you will also learn fix-it skills such as plumbing, carpentry, drywall, painting, roof repair, wheelchair ramp construction, and landscaping, just to name a few. Your generosity will leave a lasting impression on all those you serve. It is not another chore; it is a life changing experience.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: We are an out of doors type of family that likes staying busy. During our free time, our family especially enjoys camping, hiking, and kayaking.